PD10: Professional Responsibility in Computing focuses on the legal and ethical issues that surround the use and development of software. What are the copyright laws affecting pieces of software? How do warranties and license agreements shape the ways in which we use software? What do computing professionals need to do to act ethically? Students who take PD10 explore and answer these questions with interactive lectures and thought-provoking assessments.
What do PD10 students do?
- Navigate rights as a software creator and user through end-user license agreements and warranties
- Understand data privacy issues, privacy laws, and how to obtain meaningful consent online
- Apply the IEEE-CS/ASM Software Code of Ethics and Professional Practice to workplace scenarios
- "I like this course for its informative nature and case studies. It's really effective at giving an awareness of the ethical and legal playing ground in the digital world."
- "Course content is extremely relevant to the software development field, particularly the paperwork aspects that we have very little exposure to and usually leave to other departments to handle. Would see this all as extremely useful if you intend to develop and release your own software, such as open source projects."
Students need to earn a grade of 50% to pass PD10. Students also need to earn a grade of 50% on the final assignment.
If you have a question about grading in PD10, contact the course team using the information in the sidebar.
Why do Computer Science (co-op) and Software Engineering students need to take PD10?
Computer Science and Software Engineering are accredited professional programs, and that means their graduates have to leave Waterloo with a set of skills and attributes that are necessary for successful careers. Mathematical aptitude and programming abilities aren’t enough: graduates also need to leave campus with teamwork, communication, and professional conduct in mind. They need to understand the ethical, legal, and sociocultural issues that affect the worlds of computer and software engineering, and they need to understand how their work can impact the world around them in both positive and negative ways.
Computer Science created PD10 to satisfy those skill development needs, and Software Engineering adopted the course because its accreditation requirements are similar.
Students in Computing and Financial Management aren't required to take PD10, though they're welcome to select the course as one of their electives.
Why did the departments create a PD course instead of creating an on-campus course?
The WatPD program is a perfect fit for a course focused on professional topics in computing. Because students complete PD courses during their work terms, they can learn about the laws and ethics that define their chosen profession and make immediate connections to what they’re learning in the workplace.
How does PD10 align with other parts of the departments' curriculums?
Within Computer Science, PD10 is most closely related to CS 492: The Social Implications of Computing. PD10 provides students with a general look at the laws, ethical impacts, and societal concerns facing both software developers and software users; CS 492 is an on-campus course that offers students a more intensive look at the ethical issues that accompany the adoption of computer technology. While there’s a small degree of overlap between the courses, together they represent a comprehensive look at the meaning of professionalism in the computing industry.
Software Engineering students first encounter some of the concepts contained within PD10 while taking SE 101: Introduction to Methods of Software Engineering. The course introduces first-year students to some of the core ideas that define engineering practice, including the importance of standards and professional responsibility. These ideas are put into practice during their work terms, and again when students complete their capstone design projects during their third and fourth years on campus.